"Big-Time" Practice Sets Stage for Scrimmage

QB Ryan Colburn

On Friday, The Fresno State Bulldogs practiced in Bulldog Stadium for the first time in fall camp. The team practiced on Jim Sweeney Field, with the speakers blaring the sounds of sold out stadiums and marching bands. The practiced consisted of several game scenarios as the ‘Dogs prepare for Saturday's 7 p.m. scrimmage that is open to the public…

Fresno State practiced in Bulldog Stadium Friday. It was the first practice of fall camp to take place on Jim Sweeney Field. There were only about fifty spectators in the stands, but the Bulldogs had to deal with the noise of a sold out crowd playing through the speakers. With the sounds of game day, the team got competitive working on game scenarios.

The practice started with the one-minute "tempo" drill. Ryan Colburn led the first drive, connecting on a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jamel Hamler. Colburn completed two of three pass attempts for 50 yards and a touchdown. Derek Carr led the second drive, completing one of three pass attempts for 10 yards. Tyler Stirewalt took the third team offense, going zero for two, with an intercepted pass by linebacker Mario Moore.

The ‘Dogs worked on special teams; focusing on punts and field goals. Both kickers, Andrew Shapiro and Kevin Goessling, took reps at punter. Both were inconsistent, as the punts ranged from about 30 to 42 yards. Special teams finished with Goessling kicking field goals.

Practice then focused on the run game. The defense contained the running backs, holding them to just one carry over six yards, and making three tackles for loss. The offense took nine carries for 23 yards. The offense did throw three passes, one of which was intercepted on Stirewalt's throw by freshman safety Derron Smith.

The team then focused on the passing game, in seven-on-seven. Ryan Colburn completed all three pass attempts for 32 yards. Derek Carr completed four of five pass attempts, for 62 yards, and one interception. The interception came when freshman cornerback Sean Alston hauled in the pass with one hand. Greg Watson took third team reps, and completed one of two passes for seven yards. Stirewalt completed both of his pass attempts for 18 yards, and Kelly O'Brien went zero for two.

The offense then went 11-on-11, practicing short third down scenarios, trying to convert by running the ball. The offense converted on six of nine attempts. The offense broke off four carries of over 20 yards, all by different running backs. Pac-10 transfers Tracy Slocum and Milton Knox each scored on 31-yard touchdown runs.

Practice wrapped up with the offense and defense going head to head in fourth and goal scenarios. Each unit took snaps from the nine, four, and two-yard lines along with a two-point conversion. The offense converted on four of the 12 snaps. Colburn led the first team, throwing two incomplete passes, but the first team converted one of four attempts on a two yard run by Tracy Slocum. Carr led the second team to two conversions, by completing two touchdown passes on two pass attempts. The third team's lone conversion came on Isaiah Burse's touchdown run out of the wildcat.

Practice News & Notes

  • Artificial crowd noise was used in all game scenarios practiced Friday.
  • Coach Pat Hill was happy with the team's effort, "That was a big-time practice."
  • On Saturday, the ‘Dogs scrimmage at 7:00 p.m. Pat Hill described what will be on display, "We should get about 130 plays in. We're going to get a lot of reps for a lot of young guys and mix the groups."
  • Richard Helepiko and Leslie Cooper are taking snaps at second team center.
  • Isaiah Green and Lester Fontenette returned to practice. Green took third team reps.
  • Andy Jennings dressed in pads for the first time in camp.
  • Desia Dunn, Aaron Howse, and Chris Lewis are still out.
  • Shawn Plummer did not dress out today.
  • Derek Carr led one drive with the first team, his first time taking reps with the first team offense in camp.
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